MLA Adopted on Three Stages at Japan’s New Year Countdown

Photo Credit: James Ling (The Inside Story)

Martin Audio’s MLA Multicellular Loudspeaker Array played an important role at the Countdown Japan Festival 19/20 at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba.

Countdown Japan is one of the biggest new year countdown music festivals in Japan, held over four days at the end of December (and leading up to the final countdown at midnight on December 31st). This major event features between 40-50 Japanese music acts per day.

The main stage is the 40,000 capacity Earth Stage, while the other four stages comprise Galaxy Stage, Cosmo Stage, Moon Stage and Astro Arena (some with acts running through until New Year’s Day morning). Furthermore, a shrine is set within the venue, providing a genuine Japanese new year flavour.

On the Earth Stage, 19 Martin Audio MLA and a single MLD Downfill cabinet provided the main arrays on each side of the stage, while six MLA per side provided outfills. Three MLX subwoofers were stacked and set at 12 positions across the front of the stage. This subwoofer stack was in cardioid setting, including one cabinet in the centre facing backwards. On top of these stacks were placed MLA Compact enclosures for front fills.

In addition to the PA, which completely immersed and engaged the audience, Martin Audio also provided stage monitoring for the benefit of the artists, in the form of XE500 wedges, as well as THV for side monitors.

XE500 is a powerful monitor combining high SPL and differential directivity dispersion pattern. Its coaxial differential dispersion technology combines 15in low section, featuring 3.5in voice coil and 1.4in exit compression driver with 3in titanium diaphragm for the high section. Since a neodymium magnet is used for both sections handling is made easier with the lower weight mass.

The XE500’s differential directivity dispersion control is also good for the musicians’ reference sound, having similar SPL and tonality—whether they are playing close to the monitor or straying far from it. Its unique waveguide achieves smaller horn size and pattern controllability down to 500Hz.

As for THV, this is an all horn-loaded 3-way system, driven bi-amp with passive crossover network inside.

The ease of playing onstage is the key to getting a good performance from the artists—and by preparing the best monitor environment for the artists, the crew were able to guarantee this on the Earth Stage.

In addition to the Earth Stage, Martin Audio premium systems were also adopted on Galaxy Stage and Astro Arena. At the former, the main array consisted of 13 MLA and a single MLD Downfill cabinet, while a pair of stacked MLA Compact enclosures were deployed as side fills. A further nine MLX subwoofers per side provided low-end extension and W8LM were used for the front fills.

Meanwhile, in the Astro Arena, the main array consisted of 10 MLA and a single MLD Downfill cabinet, while eight MLA Compact provided side arrays. Eight MLX subwoofers per side were also deployed along with W8LM once again providing front fills.